With our National team’s qualification for next year’s World Cup going to a playoff with Monday’s 1-0 win over the Taffs, I have a look at our football over the past 30 years.

How many world class players have we had? When will we see our next one and what do we need to do to keep up with our European counterparts. When you look at some of the other teams in the playoffs you have to admire their conveyor belt of talent.

In my opinion we have only had three world class players come through and play for our National team in the past 30 years, maybe four at a push. Roy and Robbie Keane, Seamus Coleman and Denis Irwin.

Other than that I can see great players but not world class. To me this is terrible when 75% of our players come through the Premier League academy system, with the rest being made up of League of Ireland and lower league English graduates.

From my experience and from talking to people in the game I do think we’ll see a world class player pulling on the Irish jersey in the next 10 years.

but is this good enough?

No, it’s not. We should have maybe 2 every 5 years, look at England, they have an abundance of talent but they have a mental block when it comes to using their talent and only seem to play players based on who their club team is. With the Premier league introducing the U23 Premier league we can see our U21 players playing at a much more competitive level and the majority of our players are close to first team squads in England.

What can we do to keep up?

Sometimes having a coaching badge can mean nothing but in the long term we should have every member of a club qualified at some level when it comes to teaching the basics of football. I was on a coaching course a few years back, I was coaching Castleview’s senior team at the time. I was paired with a guy from down the county and I asked him what age did he look after. After informing me he tied the laces of the U8’s I couldn’t help but laugh, but he was doing the right thing and if he picked up one play for training whether it was from me or the coordinator he was gaining something from the course.

 

We need to teach the fundamentals of football from an earlier age, the issue could down to the lack of volunteers in the game or people’s loyalty to the GAA that we aren’t seeing 3 and 4 coaches per team in football.

When will we see the next Roy, Robbie or Irwin?

Hopefully sooner rather than later.